I decided to learn how to make boba and fruit tea with basil seeds. We were frequenting the tea places a couple times a week, not quite yet at the level of the Starbucks addicts who go every morning, but it was still enough for me to want to break the habit.
So I headed off to Tokyo Central and found a good brand of tapioca pearl that makes delicious boba, bought some boba straws, black tea, canned lychees, and headed off to BevMo to buy some passion fruit syrup. I also bought a pack of raspberries from a nearby store. I had previously ordered the basil seeds from Amazon based on the reviews and ratings. I think you can find it in Thai grocery stores or health stores.
This is the brand of tapioca pearl that I used, below. It works quite well and it was sealed tight in the bag with no air. I think it costs between $3-$4 for the bag.
I’ve tried a few different types of fruits with the tea and found I like the raspberries best. The lychees really needed to be pureed and I didn’t do a good job of it when I ran it through the NutriBullet.
There are instructions on the package, but basically, I gently scoop a couple of heaping tablespoons of tapioca pearl into a small saucepan with boiling water. There should be at least 6-8 times the water that there is pearl. I’ve found that if I don’t put in enough water, the boba tends to stick together in clumps. When you place the boba in the pan, reduce the heat to medium and stir it frequently. It should be hot enough that the water is still bubbling and boiling a little but not to the point it will overflow. I set the timer for 20 minutes from the time I dumped the pearl in.
While waiting for this, I make a cup of tea and let it cool. (I took these pictures at Christmastime, can you tell this blog post is way overdue?)
I rinse the raspberries and mush it up to a pulp in a small bowl.
The basil seeds are really easy, you just need to put the amount of basil seeds you want into a container and add some very warm water. I generally put around a tablespoon into the cup and the water should be about 4 times more than that. I don’t really try to be too precise, once you’ve done this the first time, you can just eye check the amounts to see if it’s looking as expected. The basil seeds take about 15 seconds to swell up. Once they swell up, I add a little bit of honey and stir it up to give it a little flavor, otherwise, they’re kind of bland.
I mix the passionfruit syrup with water, and this again, is something I taste test. It’s generally about 1 part syrup to 5 parts water, and when tasting, I make it sweeter then it should be because once I add the boba, the basil seeds, the tea and raspberries and ice, it lessens the sweetness.
When the boba is done, you need to turn off the heat and cover it with a lid for 20 minutes and just let it sit. After this, drain the water out and rinse it a couple of times just as if it’s fruits you are washing (I used a lid strainer for this to not lose boba down the drain). Add a little honey to it and stir.
Now you can mix everything together! Put the raspberries, boba and basils seeds at the bottom and then pour in a little tea and passionfruit mix and taste it as you go. I use a few glasses when I do this, as I tend to mix my tea and passionfruit together and taste it, and then pour it on top of the other more solid items. I usually make enough for two to three people, so that’s the quantities you are seeing in the images. When I’m lazy, I’ll just make the boba, basil seeds, and passionfruit drink and mix those together and it still tastes great!
This drink looks very similar to those I buy at the tea houses but costs much less because for the price of four large drinks, I can make at least a dozen or more drinks from the supplies I bought.